Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2005)

Science news and science current events archive 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2005

While on trail of dioxin, scientists pinpoint cancer target of green tea
Green tea appears to protect against cancer by affecting a

Blood-based TB test matches up to old skin test in study among health workers in India
A UC Berkeley-led study has found that a new blood-based tuberculosis (TB) test is as useful as the traditional tuberculin skin test in a head-to-head matchup between the two methods of detecting latent infection. The results of the study, to be published in a special June 8 issue in JAMA, mean that switching to the more expensive blood test may not be necessary for people in India.

As Grid problem solving flows smoothly
Computational Fluid Dynamics, a technique that can be used to measure the flow of water around a ship's hull or the exhaust flow of a car engine, requires complex, processing-intensive software. It is therefore a key candidate to benefit from Grid computing, as the FlowGrid project proved.

Girls' confidence in math dampened by parents' gender stereotypes
A survey of middle-school girls reveals that their self-confidence in math suffers when their parents believe the gender stereotype that holds that math is a male domain and when the parents give unsolicited help with homework.

Embryonic law and order
Soon after fertilization, the cells in an embryo, which have been dividing furiously from the start, begin to take on different forms and to separate into layers that will eventually give rise to the organism's various tissues and organs. But dividing and changing shape, two distinct processes, cannot happen simultaneously.

Making states work
What mechanisms make for a successful state? Although much has been written about state failures and the reasons for such occurrences, very little attention has been paid to what constitutes state success and what are the mechanisms for achieving success. Making States Work, a collaboration between the International Peace Academy and the United Nations University goes some way towards addressing the issue.

Significant fall in serious violence in England and Wales
There has been a significant fall in serious violence in England (13%) and Wales (20%) over the last five years, according to a major study into trends in serious violence by Cardiff University.

Take two!
All life on earth depends on photosynthesis, a process in which light energy is used to build organic substances. When the amount and proportion of light changes, a plant has to adapt; we distinguish between three different kinds of adaptation.

Jefferson researchers find potential biomarker for heart failure
Signs of heart failure may be in the blood. Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have found an enzyme in the blood could be a potential marker for heart failure. They previously showed that GRK2 is increased in failing human hearts and contributes to the heart losing contractile strength. Now they have found, using tissue samples from heart failure patients, that they could track heart levels of GRK2 in the blood.

Physicians may not be accurate in their confidence levels of their diagnoses, says Pitt study
Physicians often do not have correct perceptions of the accuracy of their diagnoses at the time they make them, and in significant numbers of cases they may be overconfident-wrong when they believe they are right; or under confident-right when they believe they are wrong-about their diagnostic assessments, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Guarding giants with tiny protectors
The Office of Naval Research is supporting development of a nanofabrication process that will make possible ultrasmall sensors.

3 papers present fresh paths to ponder Akt1 in the heart
Three JCI papers plus an accompanying commentary explore Akt1 in the heart. Two provide new insights into how Akt1 can be maladaptive in the heart. The third paper finds that Akt1 is responsible for mediating adaptive angiogenesis after ischemia. A commentary discussing all says

Keeping cancer in check
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified in normal cells that a common metabolic enzyme, which acts as a rheostat of cellular conditions, also controls cell replication. This control is managed through p53, the much-studied protein implicated in many types of cancer. The discovery of the interaction between these two molecules may lead to new ways to fight cancer.

Carnegie Mellon statistics professors captures statistics award
The American Statistical Association has bestowed its 2005 Outstanding Statistical Application Award on a paper written by Christopher Genovese and Larry Wasserman, professors of statistics at Carnegie Mellon University, that provides a new analysis of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the radiation left over from about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Genovese will accept the award at the 2005 Joint Statistical Meeting, August 7-11 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Avian flu in perspective: New England Journal article reviews 'spectacular' findings
An article by Robert Belshe, M.D., of Saint Louis University School of Medicine in this week's New England Journal of Medicine reviews recent

Turning sensation into perception
Perceiving a simple touch may depend as much on memory, attention, and expectation as on the stimulus itself, according to new research on monkeys by Howard Hughes Medical Institute international research scholar Ranulfo Romo and colleagues at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Female sex hormones play a vital role in defense against sexually transmitted diseases
Charu Kaushic, assistant professor and supervisor of the studies, says the implication of this work is quite significant.

Green light for Lazio-Sirad
Lazio-Sirad is ready to gather data. The experiment is installed on the International Space Station and its aim is to trace the slight variations of the so-called Van Allen belts that seem to occur before earthquakes. At the same time the experiment will gather data that will make possible the development of techniques of protection from radiation for astronauts. The astronaut Roberto Vittori will carry out measures.

Novel asthma study shows multiple genetic input required; single-gene solution shot down
A Harvard Medical School-led team found that wheezing -- a key physiological component of asthma -- requires the interaction of genes in several locations. The work, involving multiple independent verification, reinforces the complexity of the genetic predisposition to asthma, and by implication many other polygenic diseases. Knowing that multiple genetic interaction is required should aid in dissecting the genetic etiology of asthma in humans, while demonstrating the importance of animal models in advancing medical research.

Researchers offer proof-of-concept for Altered Nuclear Transfer
Scientists at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have successfully demonstrated that a theoretical--and controversial--technique for generating embryonic stem cells is indeed possible.

New survey reveals older Americans' attitudes toward sleep and healthy aging
According to results of a new Gallup survey released today by the International Longevity Center-USA (ILC), almost half (46 percent) of older adults receive fewer than seven hours of sleep each night, and a quarter (25 percent) believe they have a

University of Aveiro researchers receive Excellence Stimulation 2005 Award
The Excellence of the Research produced in University of Aveiro was once again recognised. This time, José Maria da Fonte Ferreira, professor and researcher of the Department of Ceramics and Glass Engineering, and Sergey Dorogovtsev, Research Coordinator in the Department of Physics, were awarded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) with the Excellence Stimulation 2005 Award.

New DOE program funds $20 million for multiscale mathematics research
Researchers will use mathematics to help solve problems such as the production of clean energy, pollution cleanup, manufacturing ever smaller computer chips, and making new

Unlocking genetic mysteries focus of UH symposium
Biologists and computer scientists are coming together at the University of Houston to explore the mysteries of genetic material and its potential for leading to advances in evolutionary biology and human health. Free and open to the public, Computational Molecular Biology: The Future will address these 'new' collaborations in a daylong symposium Monday, April 4. Researchers will collaborate to create custom-designed computer programs and algorithms to analyze different portions of genomes - an organism's genetic material.

Tip sheet Annals of Internal Medicine, April 5, 2005
The current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine includes: ACP guidelines to treat obesity cover diet, exercise, drugs and surgery; Platelet function normalizes by 24 hours after last dose of ibuprofen; ACP publishes fifth edition of Ethics Manual.

Crossing Africa with EGNOS
Flying over Africa using navigation information via satellite is what the European Space Agency (ESA) is undertaking next week between Senegal and Kenya. The aim is to demonstrate methods for safer aviation in the region.

Two are better than one
Cancer patients may one day benefit from treatment with mixtures of customized antibodies. In a study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), a team of Weizmann Institute scientists have demonstrated how the right combination might form a web that destroys the cancer cell's communication network, ultimately demobilizing the cell.

History of broken bones overlooked when treating osteoporosis
Women who need treatment for osteoporosis -- thinning of the bones -- may not be receiving it because their history of fractures is not being considered by physicians, according to a study done in part at the University of Alberta.

Study shows eutrophic lakes may not recover for a millennium
Although it has taken just 60 years for humans to put many freshwater lakes on the eutrophication fast track, a new study shows their recovery may take a thousand years under the best of circumstances.

One of the fastest phenomenon of electronic dynamics
The journal Nature publishes this week a study of electronic dynamics (

Forsyth scientists find blue light fights gum disease culprits
Scientists at The Forsyth Institute have found that blue light can be used to selectively suppress certain bacteria commonly associated with destructive gum disease. They are currently developing a handheld consumer device. If proved effective in clinical trials, blue light technology

Observational study suggests use of statins lowers risk of advanced prostate cancer
Use of such cholesterol-lowering drugs as statins may reduce the risk of advanced prostate cancer, according to research that followed 34,428 U.S. men for more than a decade.

Study shows acrylamide in baked and fried food does not increase risk of breast cancer in women
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, have found no association between acrylamide intake in foods and risk of breast cancer among Swedish women. The findings appear in the March 16, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Hormone might cause dangerous pregnancy complication
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Academic Health Center have found evidence of a hormone they say is responsible for certain types of high blood pressure (hypertension), and could also cause preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that occurs during pregnancy.

An 'evildoer' by any other name: How labels shape our attitudes toward violence
What difference does it make if a prosecutor describes a defendant as a

NASA helps highlight lightning safety awareness week
Summertime arrives officially today in the northern hemisphere, and with it comes thunderstorms. As a result, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration named the week of June 19-25 National Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

People can learn motor skills by watching
It's widely accepted that people watching an expert golfer or carpenter can learn the procedural steps to a better golf swing or building a deck. However, researchers Andrew A.G. Mattar (presently at McGill University) and Paul L. Gribble of the University of Western Ontario have developed startling evidence that people can unconsciously learn complex motor behaviors by watching such performances.

Geoscientists follow arsenic from chicken feed to streambeds
Organic arsenic is fed to poultry to prevent bacterial infections and improve weight gain. A little bit of arsenic is taken up by the tissue and the majority of it is excreted. Virginia Tech geoscientists are determining what happens to such feed additives when they are part of the manure applied to agricultural fields.

Statins, other cholesterol depletors, may disrupt hypertension development: UCSD study
Cholesterol-lowering agents, such as statins, and cholesterol-blocking agents may prove to be novel therapeutic agents to modify cellular calcium that contributes to the development of pulmonary hypertension. The UCSD team found a previously unappreciated cellular and molecular mechanism for the disease process that may be amenable to treatment with current and future therapies and might provide more substantial, long-term benefit to those with hypertension.

Fourth European Conference on space debris to address key issues
The European Space Agency hosts the 4th European Conference on Space Debris, 18-20 April, at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

Gene therapy reverses genetic mutation responsible for heart failure in muscular dystrophy
University of Pittsburgh investigators have for the first time used gene therapy to successfully treat heart failure and other degenerative muscle problems in an animal model that is genetically susceptible to a human muscular dystrophy. Reporting in the Oct. 25 edition of the journal Circulation, the authors say that this is the first successful attempt to deliver a therapeutic gene throughout the body.

Theories of high-temperature superconductivity violate Pauli principle
Scientists seeking to explain high-temperature superconductivity have been violating the Pauli exclusion principle, a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Rutgers University report. Any theory that does not embrace the Pauli principle has a lot of explaining to do, they say.

Study charts origins of fear
University of Toronto study has charted how and where a painful event becomes permanently etched in the brain.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, November 2005
Story tips from the US DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory include: Environment - Carbon and climate; Energy - Better buildings; Environment - Eliminating kudzu.

Scripps marine research physiologist pioneer to receive lifetime achievement award
Gerald Kooyman, emeritus professor of biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, will be the first recipient of a new lifetime achievement award bestowed by the Society for Marine Mammalogy during the society's 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.

Bioceramic orbital plate implant
The remarkable progress of ceramics in recent years has resulted in the development of materials with chemical, physical and mechanical properties that are suitable for biomedical applications.

USC neuroscientist to receive Prince of Asturias prize
USC neuroscientist Antonio Damasio will accept the 2005 Prince of Asturias Award on Friday, October 21.

Johns Hopkins AIDS expert says global strategy needed to combat 'feminization' of HIV/AIDS
A Johns Hopkins physician and scientist who has spent a quarter-century leading major efforts to combat HIV and AIDS worldwide has issued an urgent call for global strategies and resources to confront the rapid

Full-body MRI shows promise for screening, but should stay in research area for now, study says
The use of full-body cardiovascular and tumor MRI to screen for disease in patients who do not have any suspicious symptoms is technically feasible, but for the present, full-body MRI screening should not be performed outside of a research setting due to the uncertainty of whether the benefits outweigh the risks, according to a new study by researchers from the University Hospital of Essen in Germany.

News briefs from the journal CHEST, March 2005
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, may help treat children with life-threatening asthma (LTA), according to a new study. In the first-ever study on anemia frequency and its pathophysiology in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers examined data from 101 patients with COPD (35 men and 66 women) and found that 13 patients (13%) had anemia. Physicians and their patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should weigh expected cardiovascular benefits of b-blockers against possible adverse pulmonary effects.

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